The monsoon has just arrived, but the district health department is already in deep waters. The department is in a limbo, left without funds to even buy petrol for its vehicles to inspect areas of outbreak of monsoon-related diseases.
Though the State Health Department allotted Rs.3 lakh to the district, the funds are yet to be made available.
The cash-strapped department has also run out of material to be distributed for prevention of diseases. There are no chlorine tablets, chlorine solution, chloroscope (used to detect chlorine content in drinking water) or other material the department needs for its day-to-day activities on the field.
Most of the disease prevention activities were conducted with the stock bought during the previous financial year. All through May, the department was without funds for any field activity, a health services official said.
“Usually the Department of Health Services sends some funds in advance, but nothing has come so far. The Budget funds earmarked for the year are also yet to come,” the official said.
However, District Medical Officer (DMO) Haseena Mohammed denied that there was a shortage of funds in the department. She said the department had funds allotted under various heads. Every ward has been given Rs.25,000 by the government to conduct disease prevention activities, said the DMO.
The funds for wards include Rs.10,000 from the Suchitwa Mission, Rs.10,000 from National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and Rs.5,000 of the local body’s funds. The health services official said the funds existed only as government orders and have not been translated into any activity. Only the NRHM has provided half of its share of Rs.5,000 for the activities, he added. The funds from Suchitwa Mission have been lying unutilised with most local bodies, the official added.
On Sunday, 317 cases of fever were reported in the district, while the number of cases of diarrhoeal diseases was 34. The fall in the number of reported cases, according to the DMO, was due to the non-cooperative strike by medical officers under the Kerala Government Medical Officers’ Association that began on Saturday. The strike was called off late Sunday. However, health officials in the district said only a few cases were reported on Sunday.
More than 850 cases of fever were reported on Saturday. Of the 418 cases of dengue reported from various government and private hospitals in the district, 191 have been confirmed.